Last week we talked about classic children’s literature and the stories that have stood the test of time. I’m a huge fan of kids’ books from picture books up to YA, and I’m enjoying some current trends in books for children. Here are a few new(ish) and notable titles for read-alouds and for early readers.
STEM in fiction
STEM in early childhood education promotes predictive thinking, problem solving, cause and effect – and STEM in children’s literature does the same! For younger kids (read-aloud through about 6), The Most Marvelous Thing is a clever story about creating, problem-solving, and trying again when things don’t go just so. Appealing to a broad range of ages, Ada Twist, Scientist and Rosie Revere, Engineer (ages 4-7). These are stories with a female protagonist which celebrate ingenuity and perseverance. For the next reading level up, How to Code a Sandcastle (ages 5-8) is an engaging story with a duo problem-solving with coding concepts.
Strong female characters
My girl-child and I are loving the surge in female characters in children’s literature. But girl characters are not just for girl readers! I love seeing female characters that go beyond the princess storyline and create dimensional, relatable characters that both boys and girls can relate to. Your young kids might enjoy the Ladybug Girl series, with a quirky female protagonist finding her way in the world. A new series called You Should Meet (ages 5-8) includes books about women in science, medicine, technology, and other female influencers – such as You Should Meet Women who Launched the Computer Age. Grace for President (K and up) is a story about a girl who notices that the Presidents of the United States have so far all been men and asks, “Where are the girls?” – it’s a great introduction to the American electoral process. (If you’re looking for a series featuring both male and female subjects, children of both genders may enjoy the Who was… series of simple biographies for your more advanced young reader.)
Wordless books are a great way to explore expressive language, prediction, and imagination with children. If you have a child who is a reluctant reader or if your family is multilingual, you might explore wordless books as a way to explore ideas in multiple ways. I’ve noticed more and more wordless books making their way to the shelves and I just love this trend. Check out Wolf in the Snow (ages 2-6) about a child who is walking home in the snow and meets a wolf pup who has been separated from his pack, a sweet hero-type story about helping others. Professional Crocodile – hilarious! (Ages 4-7) Crocodile gets up every morning, brushes his teeth, gets dressed – can you guess what his job is?? Aaron Becker’s Journey trilogy (K-3) has stunningly beautiful illustrations matched with an imaginative quest that will capture your young reader’s attention over and over.